Oates tries oral chemo to combat new tumors

Former manager refuses to give in to brain cancer

Orioles

April 26, 2003|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

Former Orioles manager Johnny Oates, who has been battling a virulent form of brain cancer since October 2001, said he has begun oral chemotherapy to battle two new tumors that were detected in a recent examination at Johns Hopkins.

The cancer, known as glioblastoma multiforme, is not curable, but Oates underwent surgery to remove a large tumor in November 2001 and has exceeded the survival expectancy for the disease.

He said doctors say the new tumors cannot be removed by surgery but are hopeful that the oral medication will inhibit the growth of the new tumors.

Oates, 57, who managed the Orioles from 1991 to 1994 and played for them in 1970 and 1972, lives in Matoaca, Va., on the edge of Lake Chesdin, about 30 miles from Richmond. He visited Camden Yards two weeks ago while he was in Baltimore for a series of checkups.

Radiation has left him bald on the right side of his head and he has limited mobility and the loss of dexterity in his left hand, but he remains in good spirits.

"From the very beginning it has been tough," Boston Red Sox coach Jerry Narron, who succeeded Oates as Texas Rangers manager in May 2001, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"But the way he has handled it and his faith, the way he's shared his faith, has been a blessing. He's an unbelievable man, as anybody who knows him already knows."

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